Mahathir: My two-year stint as PM is only a suggestion and could be longer

Mahathir: My two-year stint as PM is only a suggestion and could be longer
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

PETALING JAYA - Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is supposed to relinquish the premiership to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in two years' time, but the veteran statesman says his stint could be extended beyond that.

Dr Mahathir acknowledged that two years was the initial decision, but this was not set in stone.

"It (the two years) is a suggestion, but we are not fixed on this. It could be earlier, or even later.

"The priority is to return the nation's wealth and build our economy to become more sustainable.

"In the short term, I want to overcome the problems we are facing now.

"If I succeed, money won't be an issue, what will matter is the result of our work," he said in an interview with Sinar Harian published on Saturday (June 9).

However, he was quick to reiterate that Anwar would be his successor.

Anwar, who was Pakatan Harapan's choice for prime minister even before the general election, received a full pardon on May 16.

The contentious past between the duo has caused doubt if Dr Mahathir would make way for Anwar, despite assurances by both that it would happen.

Anwar was once Dr Mahathir's protege and deputy prime minister, but was unceremoniously sacked in 1998 and convicted for sodomy and corruption.

In the interview, Dr Mahathir also denied any involvement in Anwar's incarceration, saying it was the police who had enforced the rule of law.

"Anwar's case was not my doing. The police said 'oh, a deputy prime minister cannot be like that, for us to ignore whatever he does'

"If we want to go follow the rule of law, we must let the law take its course even if our friend is implicated," he said.

Anwar a free man after royal pardon

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    Jailed Malaysian reformist Anwar Ibrahim was granted a full pardon on Wednesday and walked free from a hospital in Kuala Lumpur, capping dramatic changes in the Southeast Asian country since the government was ousted in an election upset last week.

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    In his first press conference since his release at his residence in Segambut on Wednesday (May 16), Anwar said that he was only back as a citizen.

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    "I'll be taking time off to give a series of talks in Harvard, Georgetown and a few Muslim countries," said Anwar.

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    "I've given my assurance to Mahathir and Azizah that I'm here as a concerned citizen, with complete support for them manage the affairs of the country," he said.

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    Anwar also said that as premier, Dr Mahathir had the prerogative to form the Cabinet, but added that the Prime Minister had given him assurance that he would consult party leaders before deciding on its composition.

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    Mr Anwar Ibrahim (centre) speaking to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at the palace, where he has been granted an audience with the King at noon.

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    Police directing traffic as Mr Anwar's convoy leaves for the palace.

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    Anwar Ibrahim greeting his supporters after being released from the Cheras Hospital Rehabilitation in Kuala Lumpur on May 16, 2018.

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    A poster of Mr Anwar by one of his supporters outside the hospital.

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    Mr Anwar Ibrahim and wife Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail leaving Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital in Kuala Lumpur.

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    Mr Anwar Ibrahim making his way home after his release from Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital in Kuala Lumpur.

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    Anwar Ibrahim arrives at his house following his release from hospital

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    Mr Anwar Ibrahim arrives home after he was released from Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital in Kuala Lumpur.

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    Journalists and supporters of jailed former opposition leader and current federal opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim arrive at his home after his release from the Cheras Hospital Rehabilitation in Kuala Lumpur on May 16, 2018.

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